A long time ago I helped contribute to my friend's blog. I was the resident homeschooling mom so I wrote a few articles about such topics as what you'll read below. I found this one recently in an old file and...it's a gem. When I read it again I rolled my eyes so far back I could see my brain. Let me tell you, after ten years of homeschooling, I've neither followed all of these guidelines put forth by my younger self nor believe I had any business writing this in the first place. Practicing grace to myself is laughing at myself, or at least seeing my naivete as a new homeschooling mom. To the 2010 Addie, you had good intentions, and I hope if you were to know what kind of woman you'd become, you would be proud even if you didn't follow the ideals you planned out for yourself.
Notes from the Trenches (circa 2010)
I have been homeschooling my kindergarten daughter for about 4 months (officially) and I by no means an “expert” but I have learned a few things along the way I wanted to share. Even if you are not homeschooling, these hopefully will help you with balancing your roles as a wife, mother, missionary, etc.
Make sure you’re getting time with God!
I recently read “Shopping for Time” by Carolyn Mahaney (and her daughters) and it was a fantastic read. The main point is to make time for God, then everything will fall into place (or you’ll at least be able to cope). She suggests waking earlier than your husband and children, which I’ve been trying to do. It’s hard, but totally rewarding!
Take a break from book-learning and focus on discipline.
I can easily get caught up in whether my daughter is learning the “right” thing and is staying “on-track” while ignoring her disobedience. I’ve found it helpful at times to put away the school books and spend time working on her relationship with her sister, obedience to me, and just having fun without the pressure of school.
Lower your standards for what is a clean house and gourmet meal (especially during your school year).
I’m kind of a neat freak (and married to a neat freak). But homeschooling has forced me to let some things go. I have learned to make easy, quick meals instead of gourmet delicacies, let the floor get a little dirty instead of mopping every single day (my baby is a human vacuum cleaner anyway), and figure it’s okay to wear an outfit more than once.
Trust that God will fill in where you may lack.
We are not homeschooling because I want my kids to become the next Einstein or Mozart. We are homeschooling because we feel God has called our family to it in this season. I’m not ready to send my babies off quite yet. I know there are some areas like algebra that I will need to “outsource” but thankfully we’re not there yet (the algebra). God’s got my children covered and for now we are working on the basics, including loving each other and honoring God.
Take time for yourself.
My older two kids (6 and 3) don’t really nap anymore but the baby does, so in the afternoons we do “quiet time” for about an hour. This is my rest time too and it makes me a much better mommy to have a portion of the day to read, pray, exercise, or (gasp!) sleep. In addition my husband has been very helpful in letting me have a break now and then to go running or get a cup a coffee.